A coalition to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in California has attained more than enough signatures to put a measure on the November 8th ballot. This will give the public the chance to change California marijuana laws and legalize recreational marijuana. The measure, known as Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana (AUMA), is backed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the former president of Facebook, Sean Parker. The group collected over 600,000 signatures, well above the 365,000 signatures required and once the signatures are approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act will be placed on the ballot.
Provisions of the AUMA
The measure would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21. Adults would be allowed to possess, transport, and use up to an ounce of marijuana as well as grow up to 6 plants per household. Growers would be taxed $9.25 per ounce of marijuana sold and consumers would be charged 15 percent by retailers. Public use and driving under the influence would be banned, but it would be legal to use in businesses licensed for that purpose, such as marijuana bars. It would be up to local government, whether or not to license businesses for that purpose.
Tight Regulation and Restriction
The measure also includes very tight restrictions, with the initiative stating that it contains “the toughest regulations of any adult-use marijuana proposal submitted to date.” Many forms of advertising will be banned or highly regulated and restricted. Detailed labelling and packaging requirements must be followed very strictly. For those caught with amounts over the legal amount of marijuana, there will be harsh punishments. It will qualify as a misdemeanor and could lead to a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Licensing for producers would be expected to begin by January 2018, with preference going to the current medical marijuana dispensaries.
Rising Support for California Marijuana Legalization
California marijuana laws have always been progressive, with medical cannabis legalized in 1996. In 2010 though, AUMA tried to get recreational use legalized and lost by 7 points. Since it’s legalization in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and D.C., support has grown. The majority of the public now want California marijuana laws to change. According to a poll conducted by Probolsky Research, 60 percent of Californians want to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use.
Rallying for Further Support
The coalition will begin the campaign to get voter support for the Act, starting in San Francisco next Wednesday. Newsom said in a statement, “This November, California voters will finally have the opportunity to pass a smart marijuana policy that is built on the best practices of other states, includes the strictest child protections in the nation, and pays for itself while raising billions for the state.” Those that are against legalization have been gathering groups, such as Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, who campaigned against legalization in 2010.
Misinformation Surrounding Marijuana
As long as marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, misinformation and inaccurate propaganda will continue to spread. Schedule 1 drugs are considered to be the highest risk drug with high possibility of addiction and no medicinal value. These points have already been scientifically proven to be false. Marijuana cannot lead to death in the amounts conceivably consumable. It isn’t addictive in nature, which is why many choose it above prescription medication for pain relief. Its medicinal value has been proven beyond any doubt with half of the country already having legalized medical marijuana. It has also been proven to have no risk on teen use. In fact, according to Health Department statistics from states where it is legal, there has been no impact made on teenager’s use or accessibility to marijuana.
Several other states join California in the vote this November. With public support for legalizing so high, it seems likely that California marijuana laws will be changing this November.